Author Archives: Andi Perullo de Ledesma

About Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

Travel As A Group

How To Avoid Drama When Traveling With A Group

Traveling with a group of friends and family can give you more socialization and fun adventures than if you were going solo, but it also means that there are more interests and personalities to cater to. Group travel can be a tricky thing to navigate, especially when you all have different budgets, interests, and vacation goals to consider.

How can you avoid drama when traveling with other folks? Here are a few ideas to have fewer conflicts and more fun:

Make It Budget-Friendly

Making sure that everyone in your budget feels comfortable with the cost of traveling is crucial to avoid drama. No one likes to admit that they don’t have as much to spend as someone else in your group, but it is necessary to get a sense of how much everyone has to work with so that you do not plan for things that are out of someone’s budget.

You might consider opting for all-inclusive vacation packages, which can limit the number of surprise costs you might incur on your vacation. These packages typically include lodging, dining, and even some activities, for one price instead of paying for them separately.

Also, be on a lookout for group discounts when you are traveling. You can sometimes find significant savings for activities you want to do as a group if you plan them out and do your research before you leave.

Set Ground Rules Before You Go

Before you embark on your adventures, you need to sit down with your group and discuss some important things like:

  • Where everyone will be sleeping?
  • Curfew, which can help curb problems between night owls and early sleepers.
  • How you plan to do activities (together or separately)?
  • Exact costs everyone needs to pay for the trip.
  • What to do if someone runs out of cash and can’t pay their share?
  • And any other rules you think you should make clear before you head out!

Having a solid plan that everyone has discussed together and agreed to before you leave can help prevent disputes while you are away.

Get Separate Rooms

You can save a lot of money, usually, by pitching your money together to get a large cabin or huge hotel suite instead of getting separate lodging spaces. That is a budget-savvy way to vacation with a group, but it also can be stressful if your lodging space does not have enough room to give everyone their space.

In the planning stages, be sure to do some thorough research on your vacation living space. Make sure that everyone will have a bed or pull-out couch to sleep on and that there are enough separate rooms to give everyone some privacy. Saving money should not have to necessarily trump your group’s comfort levels.

Share Each Other’s Interests

It is important to remember that not everyone in your group is going to love the same kinds of activities. You might agree on a few things before you leave, but you also might find some other things that your friends or family want to do once they get there.

As horrible as an activity or restaurant might sound to you, remember that vacations are the best time to try something new that you normally wouldn’t have the chance to try. Seize the opportunity to have a new adventure while appeasing others in your group by sharing their interests.

Make it fair! You can highlight a different person in your group each day, letting everyone have a chance to be in the spotlight and choose an activity they want everyone else to try with them.

But Also Let Others Be Free

This does not mean that you have to do everything with your group though! In fact, one of the quickest ways to get everyone mad at each other is by insisting that you do everything together. Yes, you are on a group vacation, but you are all still individuals. Give yourself and the others in your group some much-needed time alone to discover new interests or have some time to unwind.

Some people in your group may need just one or two quick breaks from everyone during your traveling week to clear their heads and get some quiet time. Others might need a couple of hours a day for their “me time.”

Whatever they need, respect it. Take that time to do something you love, meet some new people, or even take a quick nap to rejuvenate yourself for your next adventure.

Make Having Fun a Priority

Before you leave for vacation, make a pact with your group to have the best time possible. Research shows that when you think about the fun you’re going to have before you leave, you will likely have a more relaxing, mood-boosting vacation. Get everyone psyched up, talk about the things you are going to experience, and have each person explain what they are most excited for.

Once you are there, keep your eye on the prize. There is bound to be something that irks you along the way, but remember the bigger picture. You are traveling to have fun and make new memories with some of your favorite people. Do not let anything stand in the way of that.

Bottle Fed Baby

Six Tips For A Healthy Bottle-Fed Baby

When you have just brought home a new baby, it can be extremely overwhelming. What diapers should you buy, what kind of crib is the best, what about co-sleeping, and on and on!

One of the most difficult decisions is whether or not to breastfeed, if it is even an option available to you. For many mothers, bottle feeding is the only option, whether they were not producing milk from the start or if they stopped producing it just a few weeks after giving birth. And then comes the all-important question: How do I ensure that my baby is as healthy as can be while being bottle fed?”

That is a big question for every new parent who wants or needs to bottle feed, and to get the answers, you have come to the right place! Follow these six tips for bottle feeding to ensure your little one is as healthy as can be:

Always Grab Powdered

Formula is expensive, but concentrated and premixed formula are much, much more expensive than powdered. Powdered formula is no less nutritious than those more expensive, albeit more convenient, options, with only the added labor of scooping the mix and stirring.

Hold Your Baby Close

Skin to skin contact is important for both the parent and the child’s bonding, and it has a whole host of lifelong benefits for your child’s emotional, mental, and physical development. So, make sure to cuddle your little one closely when feeding.

Making eye contact and speaking to her softly also helps this connection between parent and child. And this tip is not only for mother, this is important for the father as well! Plus, snuggling up with your baby just feels good.

Do Not Be Afraid to Mix in Public

A lot of new moms feel judged for using formula instead of breast feeding, but the rest of those new moms feel judged for breast feeding. Everyone is self-conscious when feeding their baby, so just do not let it get to you. The important thing is that you are satisfying their hunger and nourishing them when they need it, not how you do it or what anyone thinks about how you do it!

Grab the Right Bottles

There is not really a science to which bottles will work for your baby, so you will likely have to try a few. However, it is important for your baby’s health to grab the bottle that works best for their feeding styles. So, grab some different nipples with different shapes and hole sizes,and try them all out.

The hole size is important to those who are greedy eaters, as if the hole is too narrow, they will end up gulping down air, which can lead to colic. To prevent colic, you want to get a bottle that does not let too much air in while your baby is gulping. For feeding bottles that prevent gaseousness, there are some great options in this article.

Prepare for Time Away from Home

One thing that you need to be mindful of is how much food your baby needs and how often. If you are going somewhere, be sure to bring enough formula, bottles, and bottle bags to keep them fed for however long you are out. A healthy baby is one who has a full tummy.

You may even want to bring one or two bags extra, or some dry mix and bottle bags, just in case! Babies are not always consistent, so preparing ahead of time for those unexpected bouts of hunger will go a long way for your little one and your sanity.

Also keep in mind that your baby will want her milk warm, so invest in insulated bottle carriers if you do not have a way to heat the milk wherever you will be.

Dad Can Help Too

Dad can get some bonding time with his new baby in, too! This is always a blessing — he will get to bond more and you can get a break when you need one. Just ask any mother, even a few minutes of you time is hard to come by with an infant.

This father-child bonding is just as important for your little one’s healthy development. Whether you are going back to work or simply need a nap, Dad can keep him or her fed, happy, and make the critical bond with his child while letting you put up your feet.

Elementary Boys

How To Host A Party For Elementary Boys

Elementary school is the perfect age. Parents are still considered cooler than girls and life is full of joy. And fewer demographics have more energy than boys of this age! If you happen to parent this creature, you will know that they have diverse interests that change on a dime, fierce loyalties, and boundless resources concerning imagination and play.

With all of those different passions, it is often hard to narrow down party ideas to just one or two which makes it easy to come up with a great party that will keep everyone busy and laughing.

It Is A Water Fight

Theme: It is summertime, so why not consider a double-punch party centered on putting that youthful energy to work and keeping cool?

Games: Options are limitless. From pre-filled water grenades to super-soaker water guns with strategically-placed refill stations, to water-filled piñata-type balloons just waiting to be destroyed.

Food: Do not forget to load up on cool desserts. An ice-cream sundae bar would be perfect for recharging after some serious energy expenditure.


Theme: Most boys today can rattle off the names of video games that they love and Minecraft is a longstanding favorite. Played alone or with their friends as spectators, they spend hours lost in the challenge of creating worlds and defending them. And there are nearly unlimited options for a Minecraft-themed party! Even better, grab your supplies online without ever leaving the house! Discount Party Supply has all of the Minecraft party supplies you need. Everything from inflatable pickaxes to squishy lumps of coal.

Games: You can find all sorts Minecraft-related game ideas that include both an indoor and outdoor setting. There are great high-energy games like Creeper Dodgeball (basic dodgeball but with a Creeper-faced ball). Or you can go traditional with a Ghast piñata. You can even enlist your older kids’ help to make their own pre-party. If you have a calm crew, try downloading free printable “Minecraft Crafting” project for the boys to do at party time. The Internet has done all the work for you.  You just have to see out what it offers and take advantage of it.

Food: Minecraft is all about the blocks and this is a fantastic place to start. Cheese cubes you say? A square cake? The game is also full of different foods kids like that are easy to incorporate into your menu with summertime fruits like raspberries and watermelon, along with cookies, carrots, and even chicken nuggets.

Want Outside with Less Wet?

Theme: Why waste good weather by being indoors? There are a plethora of outdoor options when it comes to summertime partying with enough room to accommodate high-energy kiddos and some are even free! Check with your city about their park policies; some can be reserved which also includes outdoor grills and covered picnic tables.

Games: A quick stop at Amazon or any other online retailer and you will be sure to find a vast selection of outdoor lawn games that are sure to be a hit. If you have become bored with the usual cornhole and horseshoes, think outside the box with Yard Yahtzee, a giant dice set to play in the yard. It even comes with oversized reusable scorecards. Set up outdoor bowling using a beach ball and empty soda bottles filled with sand using pool noodles for the lanes. Make a giant Jenga game with pieces of leftover wood.

Food: Burgers and hotdogs are perfect for this party, and you can put to good use those free grills! Make sure you have plenty of drinks to choose from (do not forget water bottles!) and sides like macaroni salad, sliced fruit, or build-your-own sandwich plates. Instead of cake and ice cream, consider making S’mores using the already-warm embers left over from your burgers! Who does not love gooey-delicious melty marshmallows?

Go Traditional

If it is just a bit too hot outside for safety, it is often easy to rent some rec center space indoors for a few hours.

Games: Your indoor rental might include a climbing wall, swimming pool, or basketball courts.

Food: Eschew the usual cake and ice cream for easily-portable cupcakes. And who does not like to choose their toppings? Let them decorate their own with easy to pack individual bowls containing different flavored frostings and fun cupcake toppers like sprinkles, cookie pieces, and gummy worms.

Every moment counts in childhood; it honestly does go by in a flash. No matter what theme you decide on, take lots of pictures and savor those hugs while they last!

Seven Simple Things You Can Do To Bring Your Family Closer

A strong and happy family unit if one of the greatest gifts you can give to your loved ones. Over the past few decades, the family unit has seen enormous erosion as several families are separated by divorce.

While divorce is sometimes justified if the relationship is toxic, such separations can bring enormous stress on the children. Even so, children can be raised healthily in both single and two-parent homes.

Here are some of the simple things you can start doing today to bring your family closer:

Create an Environment That Promotes Open Conversation

In families where people are not open with each other and are not willing to share what they think or feel, family members bottle up their frustrations and may begin to resent their family members if they do not find an outlet to release their frustrations.

You want to create a home where people are free to share whatever is on their minds. Your children should respect you and not fear you. Using fear to control your children’s behavior will make them less likely to share unpleasant experiences or things they think may annoy you.

Be Present

Being present as a parent involves more than just being physically available. Many parents today spend a lot of time looking at their television or phone screens instead of giving their children the attention they need.

Being mentally present when you are around your children allows you to understand where they are mentally and emotionally since most of their concerns will go unsaid and can only be noticed if you pay attention to their body language.

Your family will be able to form stronger connections when people feel listened to and valued. The easiest way to let your children know that you highly value them is to give them your undivided attention.

Take Family Vacations

Taking a family vacation is an easy and accessible way to build stronger relationships with your family members while having lots of fun. You will be able to create and share amazing memories that will last with you for a lifetime.

If you work long hours and find it hard to find time to spend with your family members, you can take a few weeks off during the year to give your family undivided attention during a vacation. The kind of vacation you choose to go to will depend entirely on what you want as a family. Beach vacations are always a good idea.

There are several all-inclusive packages in the Caribbean that cater exclusively to families. This means you can spend time together as a family, but your kids can bond with other kids staying at the resort. This is a great opportunity for your kids to make new friends and for you and your partner to have some fun as well.

Cook and Have Dinner Together

Cooking and eating dinner as a family is a great way to bond with your family members. If you make having dinner a family affair every evening, every family member will feel obligated to come home early to share a meal with the family.

Having home-cooked meals is always a good idea no matter the goal. Eating out can be expensive and you have no control over the ingredients of your food so you really cannot watch your diet.

Further, having dinner together gives your family members a consistent forum to catch up with each other and to know what is actually going on in your lives. You will have a very upbeat support system if you create an environment where people are free to share their feelings and where they can freely ask for help.

Laugh and Have Fun

You can always tell how happy a family is by how much people laugh when you get together. A lack of laughter is a symptom of a deeper problem.

Do not be too uptight to have fun. As a parent, you should lead by example and let loose a few times to share fun moments and laughter with your family. Everyone is looking up to you to lead.

Resolve Conflict Amicably

No family is perfect. There is bound to be some conflict no matter how hard you try to avoid disagreements. Conflict is not a bad thing per se. If you have created an environment where people are free to share their thoughts and feelings, someone will definitely get their feelings hurt.

You should never let conflict escalate to a level where people start to resent one another. Letting your family members know that conflict is a normal thing where people interact and teach them how to handle such situations, you will fend off most of the drama that arise from family conflicts.

Reward Behavior Consistent with Family Values

What gets rewarded gets repeated. Reward in this case does not necessarily mean a physical gift. All you need to do is reinforce good behavior by acknowledging the well-behaved individual and letting them know that you appreciate them sticking to your family values.

On the flip side, you want to explicitly discourage behavior that goes against your family values. You shouldn’t be subtle in this case. Let the person know that you don’t appreciate them treading away from what the family considers appropriate.

It does not matter what kind of family set up you are in right now, you can bring your family closer and build a happier and stronger family. Nothing good comes easy. Building a happy family will take some work – but it will be worth it in the long run.


Ten Reasons To Go On That Adventurous Trip

Have you been dragging your feet and have kept putting off taking a break and going on that adventure trip which you have been planning for quite a while now? Well, take a look at the several benefits of going on an adventure trip, which has an all-round effect on your mind, soul, and body. These would definitely give you the boost you need to get up and get it done already. If on the other hand you have hardly gone on any adventure trips, hopefully this would open your mind to consider going on one and grow yourself in the process.

Get your brain active and stimulated: as you observe and learn during your trip, your senses and reflexes are activated as neurons go firing in your brain. Adventure trips create pleasant memories which we can call up to help boost the mood at times when we feel blue.

The memories made during our trip marinate awhile and serves as a valuable exercise especially since memories created during most of our ordinary day to day activities often pass by in a flash without necessarily being available for use in the long term. Reliving your adventures through the stored memories allows you the time and capability therefore to effectively learn from them.

Getting dirty during your adventures improves your physical health: research by various specialists has revealed that obsessive cleanliness is actually not as beneficial as expected. It actually lowers the body’s immunity and gets the body prone to allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma. Getting dirty gets the body to build its immunity and adventure trips are the perfect opportunity to get the body healthier in that regard.

Outdoors activities can help to get rid of complications and prevent/treat a wide range of health problems: physicians are often known to hand out park prescriptions as a remedy for certain conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and attention deficit disorder. Taking adventure trips would be just what the doctor ordered as it takes park prescriptions to the next level and provides the ideal outdoor activity.

Adventure trips benefit people of all ages: nature provides a wonderful playground for people of all ages to have fun and unwind. Adventure travel is something anyone can stick with regardless of how advanced in age they have gotten. Adventure travel gets you exposed to the good gifts that are available for living a happy life. So get up and get going!

Grow your brain: taking a hike and walking have been proven to increase the brain size and keep us mentally sharp. As people approach their mid-50s the hippocampus of the brain grows smaller which often causes memory loss. Research that observed a group of middle-aged adults, who took 40 minutes walks three times a week, for one full year, show that they grew their hippocampus by 2%, on the average. This could go a long way to improve their retentive capacity for years.

Be able to effectively cope with uncertainty: taking adventure trips places you in situations where things might not always go as planned. This helps you to cope better and be able to tolerate the uncertainties often faced in everyday life, subsequently giving you a more positive outlook on life, especially when things might seem to be going haywire.

Get smarter: the great outdoors gets the brain to work better. The body is exposed to a variety of stimuli and the mind has to get engaged so as to better take in and process the wide range of information provided. A 2015 study published in a peer review journal suggests that looking at a picture depicting natural scenery for a steady 40 seconds improves focus and problem solving ability. Keep in mind that the experiment involved a still image.

Now imagine getting a dose of the real deal through going on an adventure trip. It is an obvious fact that after going on an adventure, a person feels brand new, refreshed, and ready to take on whatever task that is put forward.

Improve your career prospects: the effects of going on an adventure trip could easily be felt after the fact. It has been found that individuals who have just come back from an adventure trip are more energized, creative, and ultimately more productive in the workplace. They are greatly motivated to take on new challenges, find inspiration, and are less prone to burnout. Project Time Off, which was carried out by the US Travel Association, revealed that workers who use all their vacation days are 6% more likely to get a promotion than those who do not make complete use of their paid vacation time.

Build your confidence and feed your dreams: the “Cycle of Travel” as suggested by the editor of National Geographic Traveler Magazine involves 4 cardinal points: 1) dream 2) plan 3) go 4) share. The more people go on adventure trips in nature, the more their souls grow and hunger for more exposure and adventure. This process is unending and each time you give in and go on more and more trips, the more internal growth you experience as you challenge yourself to take on a little bit more of some higher adventure.

You would often develop your skills in the process and even uncover the hidden potentials you never thought you had. You would realize that your body and mind are capable of more than you ever dreamed of. This process grows the confidence and encourages personal growth. Furthermore, visiting places in other countries get you exposed and expands your scope, mindset, and reasoning. Visit and get exposed to the numerous adventures New Zealand has to offer.

Adventure trips are the perfect remedy for the social ill that is the loss of adventurous children and wanderlust: it is said that the US is facing a situation that could best be described as an epidemic. There is an increasing decline of the adventurous childhood. For three straight years, youth participation in outside activities has declined, according to reports from the Outdoor Foundation.

When parents overschedule their kids and insist on being involved in every activity that these kids are engaged in, they kill their child’s desire to explore and discover and create a negative effect on these kids who often lose their confidence and spirit of independence. The spark for wanderlust dies off permanently. Taking adventure trips is the perfect channel for the regeneration of the desire to explore and discover in kids, youths, and adults inclusive.